A/N: Okay...so here we are, Season 5 of the show. And Sabbath's adventures with the boys continue. I had to give my own spin on the opening of the episode, since I jumped the gun with my ending in the last fic. But hopefully this works. lol Sabbath has his work cut out for him and as always I'm hoping to put my own spin of certain elements of episodes...as well as writing my own original scenes and fic. So having said all that? I just want to thank LovinJackson aka Tara, Deb and my mate, Manda for thier input, brainstorming and feedback that allowed me to write this.

I guess there's nothing but...on with the show....

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The noise was growing along with the light from the hole that was rapidly expanding beside them. Dean's fingers were still locked in Sam's jacket, a connection to his brother that felt like a lifeline now that the Apocalypse was right on their doorstep.

"Sammy, let's go." Behind Dean, he could hear Sabbath barking, an anxious, desperate bark that was telling him to get the hell out of Dodge. He paused as Sam's hand latched onto his arm desperately, seeing the fear in his brother's eyes as he waited the arrival of Lucifer himself.

"Dean…he's coming."

Yeah, he was coming and Dean didn't want Sam to be anywhere near this place when the freaking devil himself broke out of Hell. "Sam, come on!" His tone was more forceful now, his fingers digging in further to the fabric of Sam's jacket as he all but dragged his brother towards the door. " Move it, dude!"

The whole room was shuddering violently beneath their feet as Dean began to push Sam for the door, automatically placing himself between his brother and the danger behind them as always. But as they reached the double doors, they slammed shut, sealing Sam and Dean in the room with Sabbath.

The high pitched whining was growing by the minute, louder and louder as though someone was messing with the audio in the very air around them. The sound was reverberating through their skulls as both Dean and Sam clapped their hands to their heads in a futile attempt to block it out. The pressure was unbearable as Dean gritted his teeth, feeling the moment his eardrum popped. The pain drove him to his knees, warm blood dribbling through his fingers as he cried out in agony and looked for his brother.

Sam was on his knees as well, blood running from his nose as well as his ears. He was shuddering in pain as his eyes rolled back in his head and he slid to the floor.

Dean tried to stumble on his knees over to Sam, grabbing his jacket again, trying to pull him towards the doors where Sabbath was frantically barking and clawing at the door in a bid to escape. The barking was just beneath the high pitched whine that was almost a scream in Dean's mind now. Everything was starting to turn grey around the edges as Dean fought to stay conscious.

And then as everything flared out white and Dean thought they were toast, expecting his head to pop like a freaking party popper, he found himself on a plane. Sam was strapped in next to him, while Sabbath was jammed in at his feet like a sardine, struggling to move.

"What the hell?" Dean demanded, looking at the passengers around them, expecting someone to ask how they had suddenly appeared…and why there was a dog with them. But no one seemed to be batting an eyelid.

"I don't know." Sam breathed, still stunned that they seemed to have escaped somehow. It didn't make any sense. The last thing he had known was blacking out, clutching his ears. So what the hell was this?

There was a soft dinging sound before a voice came over the planes speaker system. " Folks, quick word from the flight deck. We're just passing over Ilchester, then Ellicott City, on our initial descent into Baltimore…"

"Ilchester?" Dean looked back at Sam after glancing out the window. God, he hated flying, but right now? Even that fear seemed the least of his worries compared to everything else. "Weren't we just there?"

The Captain's voice continued briefly before a brilliant light engulfed the plane and it banked sharply. Oxygen masks fell from above as Dean and Sam grabbed them, holding them over their faces as the plane struggled to level out again. Passengers were screaming, flight attendants strapping themselves in to land. This was exactly why Dean hated flying. It was like he was cursed or something when it came to these freaking things.

His hand reached down, burying itself in the thick fur around Sabbath's neck as he tried to keep the dog calm. Outside the window, Dean could see the ground rushing up faster than it was meant to be.

"Sam!"

"Dean!"

Both Winchesters bolted upright in bed, calling each other's names in unison before they turned their wide eyed, panicked gazes to each other.

Dean was gasping for breath, his heart slamming against his ribs, his bed sheet clenched within his fists. It took a moment for his mind to settle and register that he had been dreaming. "Did you just-?"

"Yeah…" Sam replied, nodding shakily. He was more than a little freaked to know they'd had the same nightmare, sweat plastering his hair to his forehead. His arms trembled, rubbery and weak as he pushed himself up into a proper seated position. " Are you okay?"

" Never better." Dean huffed out tiredly as he kicked the bedcovers aside. He'd fallen asleep on top of the sheets, but at some point, he'd apparently made a half assed attempt to climb under them. "Coffee?"

"Yeah, thanks." Sam scrubbed a tired hand over his face and pushed his sweaty, damp hair back. The red digital glow from the clock on the side table told him it was just after four in the morning. What he had made happen. Why the hell he had been having the exact same night as Dean? Sam wasn't sure.

He watched Dean cross the floor to the small kitchenette area, which really was nothing more than a small bench with a sink and a bar fridge tucked in beneath it. An electric kettle and the bare basics for making coffee were supplied free of charge.

"There's only instant, dude." Dean called over his shoulder, his voice still scratchy with sleep.

"Coffee's, coffee, Dean." Sam shrugged, feeling uncomfortable with the normality of the conversation. There had been no real talk of what had happened at St Mary's. Just Dean admitting that Sam had screwed up and they needed to fix things. It meant that Dean was still dealing, internalising everything instead of letting Sam really know where he stood. Part of him was glad for that breathing space at the moment. He was ashamed of himself. Disgusted that he had allowed Ruby to lead him on like that. Swallowing all her lies so willingly along with the demon blood in a misguided attempt at revenge.

A snuffling sneeze, followed by a grumbling bark, dragged Sam away from his dark thoughts. He looked down to see Sabbath edging along the mattress towards him slowly, tail wagging slowing as the German Shepard judged Sam's reaction.

Sabbath flinched and briefly shied away from his hand as Sam reached out, before he hesitantly let Sam scratch behind his ear. It felt like a kick to the chest for Sam and he pulled his hand away, letting it drop into his lap. Sabbath watched Sam for a moment, his tail thumping slowly against the mattress before he hopped down from the bed and padded over to Dean. Sam watched as Dean's hand automatically dropped to Sabbath's head, rubbing behind his ear gently and eliciting a flurry of happy tail wagging from the dog. It was clear to Sam that Sabbath was more comfortable with Dean…and that was good. That was what Sam had always hoped for from the day that he had brought home that tiny puppy for his brother. But it hurt Sam too, leaving him feeling as though he was on the outside looking in. Not only had he damaged his relationship with Dean, but with Sabbath too. Even Bobby.

Ruby had done a good job of making sure he'd burnt all his bridges on the way to destroying Lillith. Was there a way back now? Could Sam get back what he had lost?

"Earth to Sam…you want this?"

Sam's head snapped up as he realised Dean was standing beside him with a chipped mug of coffee in his hand. Had he really been that lost in thought that Dean was able to cross the room without him noticing? Sure, Sam felt a little cold and shaky now that he had used up all the borrowed demon blood -- something he was trying to downplay to keep Dean from worrying about him -- but he wasn't that out of it, was he? "Yeah…thanks."

Dean handed Sam the mug, then went back to his own bed, sitting on the edge of it and quietly drinking his own coffee. His free hand was resting idly on Sabbath's neck as the dog curled up beside Dean on the bed, pressed in beside him.

Sabbath could sense that Dean was locking away how he felt. It was all a brave front to try and keep things calm and easy between Dean and Sam, but the truth, the real feelings of betrayal, the loss of trust were all there under the surface.

"So what now?" Sam ventured carefully, sipping his coffee as he watched Dean.

"Now? You need to get your ass out of bed and we hit the road."

"Hit the road? Where the hell are we going?" That wasn't what Sam had been expecting. He thought maybe they would hole up for a few days, call Bobby and get the Impala back. There had to be a price on their heads right now after what had happened. Hiding out wasn't their style, but it made sense right now, didn't it? Time to regroup, maybe figure out how the hell they fixed all this. But no, it seemed Dean already had plans for them both. Taking charge as always when he wanted to keep his mind off of what was happening around him.

"We need to talk to Cas. Soon as we're ready, we head for Chuck's."

Sabbath lifted his head at the mention of prophet's name, his tail wagging excitedly. Another familiar face and one that Sabbath wanted to know was safe after the last time he had seen the man.

Dean got up again, heading for the shower. "We'll grab breakfast on the road."

xxxxXXXXxxxxx

The place was trashed. There was no other word to describe it really. Furniture, books, everything inside Chuck's kitchen was scattered and broken. But worse than that? There was blood spattered around the place. Dean and Sam had entered cautiously and were carefully moving through the place, looking for a sign of life, some sign of Chuck or Castiel.

But Sabbath already had a sense of what had gone down here and it wasn't good. Not at all. There was still the echo of power throughout the place left from the Archangel, leaving Sabbath on edge and unsettled. And beneath that, was the familiar scent of both Castiel and Chuck…which while once comforting, was now also frightening, because it was mixed with blood. Had something happened to them? Where were they?

Looking up at Sam and Dean, Sabbath could see the same questions in their faces as they explored the place. They were moving into the other room, Sam creeping one way while Dean explored another, drawn by a small sound they had heard. Sabbath held back in the kitchen, finding that was strongest scent for Castiel still.

Sam was aware of Dean entering the room behind him and couldn't help but wonder what his brother was thinking right now? Dean had said Castiel and Chuck had been facing off with an Archangel when he was zapped to St. Mary's. So why weren't they here now? Had the Angel's taken Chuck for helping Dean?

The answer was sudden and a hell of a lot more painful that Sam would have liked as he was slammed in the head a moment later. The blow sent him stumbling backwards as Sam lifted a hand to where he'd been struck, wondering why they said you saw stars, when in reality, your vision merely swam drunkenly. "Geez…owww!"

"Sam!?" Chuck sounded surprised to see him, the plunger he had just struck out with, still clutched in one hand.

"Yeah!" Sam snapped, his head still ringing.

"Hey Chuck." Dean didn't seem overly concerned for the fact that his brother had just taken a hit, but Sam was willing to chalk that up to the fact that Chuck was hardly going to be listed in the 'imminent threat' category.

"So…You're okay…"

"Well," Sam slowly let his hand fall away from his temple, still pissed. "My head hurts."

Sabbath padded in from the kitchen to stand with the brothers, watching Chuck, his tail wagging excitedly at the sign of man. It was always a relief for Sabbath to finally have someone he could understand, but his tail began to slow as he realised that Chuck was anxious. More than anxious, he was stressing badly…and he smelt of blood…and Castiel.

Chuck was stammering then, stumbling over his words. "…I mean, my last vision. You were like full on Vader! Your body temperate was one fifty, your heart rate was two hundred! Your eyes were black."

Sabbath didn't understand what a Vader was or much else of what Chuck said, until he mentioned Sam's eyes turning black. A whine caught in Sabbath's throat as he looked up at Sam, knowing now why he had smelt so wrong to him back in that place. A smell that still wasn't gone entirely. It had been what Ruby had to done to Sam. Had she made him like her? No…no, that couldn't be right. Sam smelt like Sam again, more than demon.

"Your eyes went black?" Dean didn't like to think of what that meant, of the lines his brother had crossed in that room, listening to that demon slut instead of him. Everything Chuck had just said, told Dean that his brother had become something else back there and for a moment, his words to Bobby rang in his ears. How he wasn't sure Sam was even his brother anymore.

I told you so didn't exactly cover it, did it? No amount of sorry was going to undo what Sam had done to himself…and to the whole world.

" I didn't know." Sam admitted quietly as he turned to look at Dean briefly, his gaze flickering away again in shame.

"Where's Cas?" Dean let it slide for now, wanting to just deal with the matter at hand.

"He's dead."

Sabbath took a step back at that word, looking to Dean for some sign it was wrong, but only seeing the same confusion in his master. Dead? No…that had to be wrong. Sabbath knew what dead was. Castiel couldn't be like that.

"Or gone. The Archangel smoked the crap out of him. I'm sorry." Chuck glanced down at Sabbath, sorry for the fact that the dog could understand him. It was obvious by the way Sabbath had gone still, his ears dropping, his head bowing, that the dog knew what that meant. He wasn't stupid, there was blood everywhere.

"You're sure? Maybe he just vanished into the light or something--" Dean tried to reason.

"Oh no, " Chuck cut him off, opening his arms to gesture as he spoke. " He like…exploded. Like a…water balloon filled with chunky soup."

Sabbath kept backing up until he was close to Dean again, looking to the Alpha male, his pack leader, for reassurance and guidance now that he knew Castiel was gone. It was obvious that the news had hurt Dean too, his master reacting in the way Sabbath had come to expect…slow, simmering anger. Sabbath nudged Dean's hand, looking to him for answers, for anything right now. Dean ignored the nudge, too distracted by what Chuck had said, watching Sam talking to the prophet.

His pack was falling apart, fighting with itself, losing members…and Sabbath didn't know what he was supposed to do to fix this.

And then…just when it couldn't get any worse? It did. Sabbath felt them before he heard them. He heard them, before Sam or Dean, but not before Chuck. Chuck was still connected to them and Sabbath drew closer to Dean and Sam, feeling the tension in the air.

" I can feel them." Chuck said wearily, knowing this would never be over for him. He was chosen…and that meant that they would never leave him alone.

"Thought we'd find you here." Zachariah announced as he appeared, flanked by two more angels. "Playtime's over, Dean. It's time to come with us."

"Now you just keep your distance, Asshat." Dean's voice was deep and sounded as pissed as he looked.

Sabbath snarled darkly, his lip drawing back to reveal his teeth as he stood side by side with his Master.

"Curb the hound or I'll do it for you." Zachariah warned, his eyes saying everything that the smile on his face didn't.

"Sabbath, go to Sam." Dean commanded, his gaze not leaving the angels in front of him.

Sabbath snarled at Zachariah again, not willing to leave his Master to face the angel alone.

"Sabbath!" Dean commanded again sharply, relieved when the German Shepard grudgingly obeyed him. Damn dog was picking up too many of his habits.

Sabbath sat beside Sam, feeling a hand tightly gripping his collar, keeping him from moving, as Dean and the angels spoke. It was clear that as much as Zachariah wanted Dean to go with them, getting more and more angry by the moment, Dean wasn't about to comply. Instead, he slid open the door between the room they were in and the kitchen, slapping his bloody hand to the sigils he had painted on there earlier. Sigils that Sabbath knew he had picked up from Castiel. Would he have been pleased to know that Dean had learnt that trick? That Dean was mourning his loss?

He couldn't explain why it hurt so much to have lost Castiel. Sabbath knew the angel had turned his back on the pack, had even helped Sam to escape. But he had also helped Dean. He had been a friend to Sabbath. A good, kind friend who had helped him to sit with Dean in the hospital where no dogs were allowed. They had understood each other, the loyalty they had to their pack leaders. Sabbath had never truly lost a friend before and the loss was sharp and painful to him.

"You think he knows?" Sam asked quietly as they drove back to the motel room finally. He looked over into the back seat of the Buick, watching Sabbath. The German Shepard was lying across the seat, head on his paws, looking miserable.

Dean glanced over his shoulder at him, then sighed tiredly. "He knows…he's not stupid, Sam. There was enough blood all over that place as it was. I'll get him a burger when we get back, see if that'll pick him up a little…"

But the truth was, Dean was just as willing to let Sabbath mourn. He knew the bond his dog shared with Castiel. They'd both lost a friend…and friends should be mourned.

xxxxXXXXXxxxxx

The burger was still sitting cold on the wrapper in front of him. It had been sat there since Dean had offered it to him, Sabbath ignoring it and turning his head away. He rested his head on his paws and slept instead, trying not to listen to the sound of Sam and Dean's voices as they spoke.

There was no fighting, although occasionally, Dean would raise his voice to Sam's soft, regretful one. It was like a dance between them, one of them trying to apologise, the other refusing to listen. Twirling and twisting, connecting and coming apart again. His pack was hurting and Sabbath was too. He knew he should be trying to comfort Dean, trying to show Sam that they could be friends again. But how? How could he fix something like this when his pack wasn't willing to fix it?

Sabbath's dreams were filled with running; running from demons, from angels, from Ruby herself. His legs shifted and twitched as he whimpered, moving with the phantom rhythm of running…until a gentle hand woke Sabbath by patting him soothingly and he woke to see Dean crouched beside him, smiling. "What are you dreaming about, huh? Chasing rabbits?"

His tone was quiet and soothing, Sabbath thumping his tail softly in response.

Dean stood up again, hearing his knees crack as he did. He was getting too damn old for this shit. Fighting demons, angels…saving the freaking world. How the hell did this ever get to be his damn job?

Sabbath got to his feet, still smelling the now congealed burger on the floor. He wolfed it down, realising how hungry he was, before he trotted across the floor and leapt up onto the bed where Dean had gotten comfortable, watching Tv. Lying down beside him, he licked his lips to wash clean the remnants of his meal, then rested his head on Dean's leg, content to have his Master's company.

A soft knock at the door, caught the attention of everyone. Sam got up from the table at the same time as Dean picked up his gun from the side table. He signalled to Sabbath to stay put as Sam approached the door. If something was there, the last thing Dean wanted was Sabbath in the line of fire.

But there was no danger…just a strange woman that had Sabbath thinking humans were very strange creatures indeed.

"Sam…is it really you?" She sounded so breathless, somewhere between shock and total awe as she entered the room, placing a hand to Sam's chest. "And your so firm!" Her smile was full of wicked delight.

"Uhh…Do I know you?" Sam frowned, keeping hold of the door, ready to push it and this crazy woman back outside in a heartbeat.

"No…but I know you."

Sam was just a little disturbed by the way she said that. What the hell was the deal here? The girl sounded like she'd just met a rock star or something.

"You're Sam Winchester…" The girl's smile was beaming, her eyes as big as saucers as she looked past him to Dean sitting on the bed still. "And you're…not what I'd pictured." Becky's smile slid away into a frown.

Dean couldn't help but feel affronted by that remark. The girl looked so damn disappointed in him. What the hell? He wasn't what she pictured? Did she need glasses or something? He felt a nudge as his elbow as Sabbath tried to get his attention. "Women, huh, buddy?"

Sabbath grumbled in reply, understanding that whatever Dean was saying, he was looking for camaraderie from him at that moment.

"I'm Becky." The girl explained as she walked in past Sam.

"Oh my god! Is that him? Is that Sabbath?" Becky rushed over, grabbing hold of the fur on either side of his face and rubbing it while she beamed and giggled. "He's so gorgeous! A little more short haired than I'd imagined, but oh he's just perfect!"

Sabbath whined and pulled himself away from this crazy woman, shaking himself to try and set his coat right again. It was a relief when the woman backed up again and left him alone. What the hell was that about?

"I've read all about you guys!" Becky explained, still sounding breathless and flushed, clearly excited by this moment. "I've even written a few…."

The soft almost dirty snigger that Becky made then, had both Dean and Sam wondering what the hell it was she had written. Not more of those slash fics, Dean hoped, although he'd lay money on it by the look of almost lust in the girl's eyes.

" I even gave Sabbath a girlfriend once…a poodle named Bernadette that Sam saved from a burning house. You used to take them for clippings together and they had matching jackets with your initials monogrammed in them." Becky gushed excitedly.

Maybe it was the look of sheer horror on Dean's face, or how Sam seemed to be looking for a way to get her the hell out of there, that snapped Becky out of it and made her spill the beans about the real reason she was there. "Anyway, Mr Edlund told me where you were."

"Chuck?" Okay, now Dean was interested.

"He's got a message, but he's being watched. Angels.." Becky almost sang the last word she was so excited. "Nice change up to the mythology by the way, the demon stuff was getting kinda old.."

Kinda old? Nice for her to say, she wasn't the one fighting them all the damn time. Dean folded his arms across his chest as he briefly lifted an eyebrow at Becky's comment.

"Okay, just uh…what's the message?" Sam pressed, trying to keep Becky on track here.

"He had a vision." Becky closed her eyes, waving her hand in front of her as she spoke, as if spelling out each word. "The Michael Sword is on earth. The angels lost it."

"The Michael Sword?" Dean asked, wondering just where the hell this was leading them?

Sam glanced at Dean briefly. "Becky, does he know where it is?"

"In a castle…on a hill made of forty two dogs." Becky sounded almost dreamy as she said it. She was buying into this prophecy thing a little too much apparently.

"Forty two dogs.." Dean was starting to wonder if all of Chuck's fans were smoking something?

"Are you sure you got that right?" Sam questioned.

"It doesn't make sense, but that's what he said. I memorised every word." Becky was moving forward then, placing her hand back on Sam's chest. "For you."

Dean frowned as he watched the unmistakable lust in Becky's eyes. She was apparently a huge fan girl for Sammy. Something that Sam wasn't at all comfortable with as he glanced down awkwardly at her hand.

A growl from the bed and a half hearted lip curl from Sabbath, told Dean that he wasn't too keen on this girl touching Sam like that. Or maybe Sabbath just wasn't keen on a poodle for a girlfriend? No way in hell was Dean ever having one of those girly dogs in his car.

" Um, Becky…uh…Can you quit touching me?" Sam asked, his discomfort ratcheting up a few more notches.

"No…" Becky breathed, still rubbing her hand on Sam's chest.

Sabbath watched for another moment or two before he'd had enough. The girl was too close to Sam and the vibe about her was making him uncomfortable. He jumped down off the bed and trotted past them to the door, barking loudly for attention before he scratched at it.

"Sammy, you want to wrap up your little fan club meeting there? Sabbath's hungry. I'm thinking we might go get some cheeseburgers." Dean smirked at his brother. He had to give Sabbath credit, the dog knew how to play his part.

Becky was too lost in her own little world to pay any attention to them. She had her hands on Sam and she wasn't giving that up.

"Uh…Becky?" Sam tried again, gently catching her by the wrist to try and stop her.

With a disgusted eye roll, Dean moved in, grabbing Becky by the arm and marching her towards the door. "Look, thanks for the message and all, but we're real busy right now. If I don't get Sabbath a cheeseburger soon? He's gonna start chowing down on the furniture in here. You know how it is." He gave Becky a tight, fake smile and thrust her out the door the moment it was open. He slammed it in her face and let out a sigh of relief.

Sabbath let out a short bark, clearly relieved himself to be rid of her.

"Remind me to talk to Chuck about sending someone a little less buckets o' crazy next time?" Dean looked at his brother, grinning as Sam huffed in reply, scowling.

"Bite me, Dean…"

xxxxxxXXXXXXxxxxxx

The knock at the door had Sabbath up and beside Dean, trying to pick up the scent of whoever it was, before Dean actually opened the door.

"Sabbath, come on dude, chill out." Dean nudged the dog aside gently with his hip as he opened the door to the familiar face of Bobby Singer. "Hey, Bobby."

The older hunter stepped forward, leaning in to give Dean a solid embrace, clapping him on the back before he gave his shoulder a squeeze. He moved towards Sam then. "It's good to see you boys all in one piece."

Sam readily stepped in and hugged Bobby with a smile, genuinely pleased to see him again after the last time they had parted ways. Bobby was family and it felt right to have turned to him for help again. Not to mention that Dean had been desperate to get the Impala back after he'd been hijacked by Zachariah from Bobby's house.

Sabbath kept his distance from Bobby, puzzled by the strange smell that seemed to be filling his senses every time he approached the hunter. It was like nothing that Sabbath had ever smelt before, covering the familiar scent of the man that Sabbath had come to know. It was unsettling and had the dog on edge even though he wasn't why. He sounded like Bobby…and his Masters didn't seem to believe anything was out of the ordinary, but it was that overpowering smell still.

"You weren't followed, were you?" Dean asked, erring on the side of caution, even though he knew Bobby was smarter than that.

"You mean by angels, demons or Sam's new super fan?" Bobby drawled dryly as he looked at Sam.

"You heard?" Sam was embarrassed still. Trust Dean to tell Bobby about that, although maybe that meant the brotherly bond was still there beneath the surface if Dean was willing to talk about Becky like that.

" I heard, Romeo." Bobby reached a hand out towards Sabbath, pausing as the German Shepard curled his lip and growled.

"Sabbath? What the hell's gotten into you?" Dean scowled at him, grabbing his collar in case Sabbath got any harebrained ideas of biting. Ever since they had left Chuck's place, he hadn't been himself.

"He'd probably still sore about the last time he saw me. I kinda lost my temper with you, Dean. Dog's don't forget that easily." Bobby lifted his shoulders in a casual shrug.

"Yeah…yeah, I guess." Dean nodded, not releasing his grip on the collar. "I'd forgotten about that." It was a lie. Dean wasn't going to forget Bobby's words about his father anytime soon. "Sabbath, bed, now."

Sabbath obeyed without question, leaping up onto Dean's bed and lying down, watching everything as it unfolded before him. Books were cracked open, the conversation shifting to the deep, serious tone of research that began to lull Sabbath to sleep after a little while. He opened one eye, tracking Sam's movement as he crossed the room to retrieve some books lefts on the end of one of the beds. There was a shift in Sam's mood that Sabbath picked up on instantly, the dog lifting his head and watching him.

The words were lost on him, but not the tone of voice, the emotions that seemed to come from Sam as he spoke to Bobby. The deeper gravely tone of warning from Dean. Sam had to have been talking about what he had done. Trying to apologise to Bobby. It was all there in the body language, the eyes, the way Sam seemed to just be thrumming with pain in that moment.

Then Bobby was on the move, approaching Sam slowly, his words sharp and angry and lit with pain. Sabbath's ears drooped as he watched the scene unfolding in front of him, his head lowering to his paws. Why wasn't Dean moving to shield Sam? Sam was hurting. Why wasn't Dean stopping this?

Bobby's tone sharpened further, driving home the anger, disappointment and betrayal that he felt towards Sam. Sabbath slipped off the bed and snuck around the back of Sam, brushing his shoulders against his legs to announce his presence and to signal who's side he was taking here. He growled softly, watching Bobby's every move, warning him to back off.

"If by some miracle, we pull this off? I want you to lose my number. You understand me?"

Sam nodded, fighting to hold back the tears he could feel burning his eyes as he dropped his gaze to the floor. Sabbath was still pushed in beside him, growling at Bobby, making his place clear while Dean apparently didn't have anything to say on the matter. Did that mean Dean agreed with what was said? There was no forgiving what he had done? It was too late now to try and mend the tear in their family?

"There's an old church nearby." Sam's voice was tight with emotion as he spoke. He was barely reining in the hurt Bobby's rejection had caused. It was Dad all over again, telling him to never come back. Slamming the door in his face, except this time? Dean wasn't arguing in Sam's favour. He wasn't saying anything at all and that right there, told Sam how badly he had fucked up. How much he had hurt his brother by siding with Ruby. "Maybe I'll go read some of the lore books there."

"Yeah, you do that." Bobby's voice was softer now, but there was a coolness there.

Sam was being sent away because he couldn't be trusted anymore in Bobby's eyes. Fine, maybe he could redeem himself in some small way with Dean at least, by helping with the research. Dean wasn't ready to slam the door in his face yet, was he?

"Sam, you wanna take Sabbath with you? He's getting cabin fever by the looks of him." Dean spoke up softly, noting the way Sabbath's head snapped up at the mention of his name. There was a wounded look in the dog's eyes as Sam grabbed Sabbath's collar and began to lead him towards the door.

Was he being sent away? Had he done something wrong by choosing Sam? By standing by him against Bobby? Sabbath didn't think so and it hurt him that he was being ordered out of the room for it. As the door opened, Sabbath looked between Bobby and Dean again, still uneasy about the strange smell coming from Bobby. But then he was pulled out into the corridor, the door closing behind him…and a with a heavy heart, Sabbath obediently heeled behind Sam and followed him.

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxx

The church was big, ornate, drenched in history…and completely empty as Sam entered with Sabbath. It had seemed crazy to come here with the dog, but then, Sam figured he could always hide him between the pews. Judging by the way Sabbath was quiet and had clung to Sam's side since they had left the motel, he was hurting too.

Reaching down, Sam ran his fingers over Sabbath's head. "He's not mad at you, boy. You haven't done anything wrong, okay?"

Sabbath looked at Sam as he heard Sam's voice, a soft whine travelling up his throat. He stayed close to Sam, hearing the soft snick of his claws on the wooden floors along with Sam's booted footfalls as they headed down the rows of pews.

Sam slid into a pew about half way down, letting Sabbath sneak in past him and watching as he laid down to stay out of sight. It never failed to amuse Sam, how Sabbath had picked up when he needed to be seen and when he needed to hide. The dog had fit into hunting so seamlessly and had saved them both so many times. Sam always knew that Sabbath was there to watch Dean's back, even when he hadn't been. The dog would be loyal to his dying day, the same way Dean had always been loyal to Sam…and look where that had gotten him, huh?

The one person Dean should have been able to trust, had turned on him and Sam knew that revenge wasn't an excuse. Sam had said things he wished he could take back now. He wanted to be able to make up for what he had done.

Sam just wanted his brother back.

"Look, you stay here, okay? I'm just going to see the priest for a moment, see if he'll let me look at those lore books. " Sam explained, then rolled his eyes. "What the hell am I doing? It's not like you can understand me. Just stay. Stay." He pointed to the floor to emphasis his point, before he walked away.

Sabbath waited patiently, his ears twitching towards the slightest sound around him. This building felt different to others he had been in before. There was a sense of peace here. Something similar to what Sabbath would feel when he was with Castiel and a soft, sad whine echoed from him as he thought of his friend.

Getting up from his hiding place, Sabbath padded quietly down the rows towards the front of the church.

Watch over them for me…

Castiel's words had stayed with Sabbath. He had been given a task that was already his to begin with. Watch the pack, keep them safe. But now that Castiel was gone, Sabbath felt as though he needed to shoulder more responsibility. Chuck was the only other person now that could understand him truly…and he was watched by Zachariah, which meant it was dangerous to contact him. There was no one else to watch out for Dean and Sam now. Sabbath was alone.

Sabbath sat on his haunches at the end of the aisle, staring up at the huge statue before him. The figure meant nothing to him. He had no idea who the man was or why they would choose to do that to him, but the sense of safety and peace that he associated with Castiel were there again.

There was no comfort to be found it this time, however. Sabbath didn't know how he was supposed to hold his pack together. He wasn't the Alpha Male. He couldn't stop Sam and Dean from fighting and hurting, no matter much he wanted to. It was too big a task for one dog to handle alone.

Have faith…

Sabbath's ears perked up as the voice echoed through his mind. It wasn't familiar to him and the words confused him. Have faith in what? In his pack? What else could be believe in, other than Dean? The faith Sabbath had in his Master was stronger than anything. Was that what the voice meant?

Sabbath let out a short, plaintive bark then, demanding whoever had spoken to show themselves. Another bark followed, directed at the plaster man before him. But there was nothing but silence now, until a door opened just to the side and Sam emerged, his face flushing red as he spied Sabbath.

"God loves all his creatures, great and small, my son. But I'm not sure the city would approve of your friend being in here." The elderly priest smiled at Sam.

"Yeah…uh…sorry, about that. He was supposed to wait outside for me. Thanks again, Father." Sam nodded to the man, then slapped his leg as he walked up the aisle. "Sabbath, come on!"

Sabbath caught up with Sam and fell into heel behind him, lowering his head to show he was sorry for getting caught like that.

"I swear, you're as bad as Dean when it comes to churches." Sam muttered, shaking his head but unable to hold back the smile that breeched his lips. "Let's see if Dean and Bobby have come up with anything, huh?"

xxxxXXXXxxxxxx

Sabbath should have known something was wrong. He should have moved faster, should have rushed past Sam into the room when his heightened canine hearing picked up the sounds of added voices in the room. Strange voices mixed with the sulphurous scent of demons and the sound of fighting.

But Sam already had the door open and even as Sabbath rushed forward, realising that Dean was in danger, he was thrown backwards across the corridor.

The door slammed shut as Sabbath crashed into the far wall and bounced off, hitting the floor in a sprawl of limbs that had the German Shepard shaking himself as he staggered to his feet again.

This couldn't be happening. Sabbath was on the wrong side of the door, throwing himself at it as he barked desperately. His paws scratched and clawed at the wood, but to no avail. How had a demon gotten into the room? Sabbath should have never left Dean alone.

A wrenching scream came from the other side of the door, startling Sabbath for a moment before he began barking and clawing again now that it was quiet. The rich scent of blood could be smelt now, scaring Sabbath deeply. When the door was wrenched open a moment later, he fell back a few steps, startled, before he went to dash forward.

"Sabbath, move! Get out the way!" Dean ordered, stumbling out the door with Sam, carrying Bobby between them. There was too much blood, Bobby looked too pale. Sabbath followed his masters down to the Impala, climbing into the front seat and waiting, while Bobby was carefully loaded into the back with Sam.

"You just hold on there, Bobby!" Dean demanded as he slid behind the wheel. He glanced at Sabbath, noting that the dog was watching Bobby over the back seat, whining. "See? Even Sabbath's saying he'll kick your ass if you think about checking out on us." The Impala pulled away from the curb with a squeal of tyres, heading for the nearest hospital.

xxxxxXXXXXxxxxxx

Another member of his pack was hurt. Sabbath had been left with the Impala while Bobby was carried into the hospital and it scared him to think that he might not see the older hunter again. Castiel wasn't here anymore to sneak him in. He was locked out while the man that Dean looked to as Alpha male, was with strangers. How would they know to keep him safe? They couldn't smell demons, or shape shifters or any of the things that threatened a hunter.

Frustration had Sabbath huffing out a sound somewhere between a growl and a whine. The Impala smelt of Dean and Sam, greasy junk food wrappers, gun oil and clothes that needed washing. But it also smelt of blood now.

Finally Sam and Dean appeared again, rushing over to the Impala and climbing in as Sabbath jumped into the backseat. He avoided the side that smelt like blood, backing himself more into the corner of the muscle car.

" We should be there for him, Dean." Sam hated that they had been forced to drop Bobby and run like that. It wasn't right. They owed the man more. So much more.

"You think I don't know that, dude? But we need that sword. Bobby would want us to keep that out of the demons hands."

" I know…I know, okay. Doesn't mean I have to like it."

"I hear you there." Dean agreed as he got the Impala back on the road, blending into the traffic and heading for the storage room that Meg and who knew how many other demons were now headed for.

"We're getting sloppy, Dean. We should have had the room salted at least. We just let them walk right in." Sam frowned worriedly. They were way off their game if they were letting that happen. Making rookie mistakes like that. Dad would have kicked their ass for it. But then, Dad would have kicked their ass for a lot of things if he was still around. "I guess now we know why Sabbath was acting funny with Bobby."

"Yeah…" Dean didn't take his eyes off the road. He had sent Sabbath away, figuring that the dog was just playing up…when he was the only one that had known something was wrong. Dean should have known himself. He should have been able to pick that something was up with Bobby, instead of being too wrapped up in his own thoughts. His own pain. When Bobby had started saying all those things about Sam. Why hadn't it clicked with him? It had gone against everything Bobby had said back in South Dakota about family. He had told Dean not to be like his father…and then he said Dad was right all along about stopping Sam? How had Dean not realised that wasn't Bobby talking? His head wasn't in the game alright. Dean didn't know what the hell to think anymore. He was tired, his ribs where hurting and he was losing everyone he could trust.

"Why'd Sabbath even allow Bobby in the room? Why didn't he warn us he was possessed?" Sam asked, his brow creasing with confusion.

"Because those sons of bitches are getting smarter, Sam." Dean slipped one hand from the wheel and dug into his jacket pocket, pulling out a small material bag that he handed to his brother. "I took that off Bobby before we left him at the hospital."

Sam studied the bag, putting it up to his nose and sniffing, his nose wrinkling in distaste a moment later. "A hex bag?"

"Looks like it. Same as when they try smuggling drugs past sniffer dogs packed in coffee beans, dude. That must have hidden the demon's scent from Sabbath…confused the hell out of him."

Holding the bag out to Sabbath, Sam watched him sniff it, then jerk his head away sharply before sneezing.

"We're going to need to be more careful." Dean gripped the wheel tightly again as he put his foot down more. He was grateful really that he had sent Sabbath with Sam. There was no knowing what that bitch Meg would have done with the dog if she'd had the chance…but it sent a shiver down his spine to think about it.

xxxxxxXXXXXXxxxxxx

A shotgun each and a back up gun tucked down the back of their jeans. That was the all the boys took with them into the storehouse, deciding that travelling light and moving fast was the best bet. All they needed to do was find the damn sword and get the hell out of there with it in their hot little hands before the demons beat them to it. Simple, right?

Sure…lots of the things were simple in theory. But as Dean opened the padlock to the storeroom to reveal the devil's trap they expected to find courtesy of good old Dad….and a few bodies lying cold and bloody on the floor, it became apparent that simple was just never an option when you were a Winchester.

Sam branched off slightly from Dean as they entered the room, guns raised, watching for any movement, any attack. Sabbath was at Dean's heel, every muscle coiled and ready for trouble. The room was empty, save for the bodies and the obvious evidence that they had been looking for the sword.

"I see you told the demons where the sword is…"

And the room wasn't empty anymore as Dean turned and looked over his shoulder.

"Oh thank god, the angel's are here." Dean quipped sarcastically. He should have known that Zachariah wouldn't be far away. The guy loved to show up when Dean screwed up. If that's what had happened here? Was the sword here? Did Zachariah have it now? Because unless there had been a mass suicide? He was pretty damn sure the bodies lying at his feet were the angel's handy work.

"And to think…" Zachariah stepped over a body as he approached Sam and Dean. "They could have grabbed it any time they'd wanted…"

Sabbath pressed in close to Dean, his growl a mere rumble in his throat, but his intent clear. If they tried to take Dean, he would launch for Zachariah's throat, angel or not.

With a small gesture of his hand, Zachariah slid the storeroom door closed, shutting the Winchesters in the room. He didn't need them trying to make a run for it under some misguided idea that they could actually escape him. "It was right in front of them."

Sabbath didn't understand what the angel meant. What was in front of them? What sword? What was a sword anyway? He could sense the same confusion in his Masters too. Questions were asked, Zachariah providing more answers that confused Sabbath and made him wish he understood human communication better….until one answer had the dog scared.

"It's you, Chucklehead. You're the Michael Sword."

Dean? Dean was this sword thing? Dean was what everyone wanted? How could that be? No…this wasn't right. They couldn't take Dean from him. He was pack leader. He was needed here. The angels could find another sword.

"What, you thought you could actually kill Lucifer? You simpering wad of insecurity and self loathing? No…you're just a human, Dean. " Zachariah loved this. He loved driving home his point so clearly to this simpleton who had thought he had all the answers. "And not much of one…"

Sabbath stepped forward at that, hackles raised, teeth bared as he growled. No one put his Master down like that. Not all the words made sense, but the tone, the message behind them that Dean was nothing but a lowly cur? That had Sabbath wanting to taste blood and inflict pain. He only stilled, when Dean's fingers curled softly into the fur on his neck, telling him to halt.

From there the conversation became confusing again, Sabbath picking pieces from Zachariah that didn't make sense. Chosen? Vessel? Wait…Castiel used a one of those things. It was what that man Jimmy had been. Dean was one of them? Who was this Michael, that he thought he could just climb into Dean and use him like that? Sabbath had loved Castiel as a pack member…but he had always been aware that Jimmy wasn't him. If this Michael got inside Dean…then Dean would be gone. Dean wouldn't be Dean anymore.

Sabbath looked over his shoulder at Sam, seeing the same concern and fear in his Master's eyes. The same questions. Finally, they were on the same side here. No Ruby to get in the way. Sam wasn't willing to let Dean go either…but how were they supposed to fight angels? How could they have faith, as the voice had said at the church, when they were fighting something they had no hope of defeating?

The only thing Sabbath had faith in now, was his pack. In Dean. And that faith was being rewarded as he heard his Master refusing to bow down to these angels. He wasn't going to play by their rules and Sabbath braced himself for whatever was coming…because it was clear as day, that Zachariah was pissed.

"Joking…always joking. Well, no more jokes…" Zachariah made a pistol shape with his thumb and forefinger that he pointed at Dean, then shifted the aim to Sam, directing towards his legs as he simply uttered one word. "Bang."

Sam cried out in agony, dropping to the floor as the bones in both legs snapped like twigs without warning. The pain was sharp and blistering hot as he clutched at them futilely.

" You son of a bitch!" Dean was going to tear the fucking wings off of Zachariah's back and force fed them to him, one feather at a time.

"Keep mouthing off and I'll break more than his legs."

That was enough to make Dean hesitate. He hadn't gone through all this, just to have Sam snuffed out by some pissed off angel with a grudge to bear.

Sabbath went to Sam, licking at his face briefly, trying to console him as he saw the intense pain in his Master's eyes. Another member of his pack was down. First Bobby, now this. Sabbath put himself between Sam and Zachariah, his growl deep and foreboding now. Making it clear that anyone bar Dean approaching Sam, wouldn't be doing it without losing a limb. And anyone approaching Dean, wouldn't walk away at all.

Dean could hear Sam breathing heavily behind him, trying to cope with the pain he was in. This situation was so beyond screwed. What the hell was he supposed to do?

" I'm completely and utterly through screwing around." Zachariah stated simply. "The war has begun, we don't have our General. That's bad. Now Michael is going to take his vessel and lead the final charge against the adversary…you understand me?"

Sabbath felt a hand on his back as he watched the standoff between Zachariah and Dean. Without needing to look, he knew it was Sam. Long, familiar fingers were latched into Sabbath's fur as Sam tried to pull himself up into more of a sitting position, his breathing still huffing out of him in pained bursts that barely contained the agony he was feeling as his broken bones shifted and stabbed together.

There was so much being said, the conversation confusing to Sabbath as he could only understand what Zachariah was saying…and only parts of that. But the body language between Dean and the angel? That spoke volumes to Sabbath. He could see in the way his Master's back was straightening, his fists curling, even muscle tensing under the skin, that a fight was building. It didn't matter what Zachariah was saying now, how he was trying to reason with Dean. He was the enemy and Dean wasn't going to bow to him.

The feeling of safety, of peace and security that Sabbath had known back in the church, was nowhere to be found here. These angels were never going to be like Castiel. They were like Uriel…and Sabbath was glad to see Dean challenging them.

"Yeah, maybe." Dean knew he was signing his death warrant here. Not just his, but Sam's too. Zachariah wasn't going to back away on this, but neither was Dean. He wasn't about to be their puppet. "But on the other hand…Eat me. The answers no."

"Okay…how 'bout this." Zachariah offered lightly. "Your friend Bobby, we know he's gravely injured. Ah, say yes and we'll heal him. Say no and he'll never walk again."

Sam looked to Dean, his grip still tight on Sabbath, both to give him something to stabilise himself against moving and to make sure that the German Shepard stayed out of harm's way. Would Dean cave in for Bobby? He loved the man like a father. To have that sort of a threat hanging over his head was tearing Dean up. Sam could see it in Dean's eyes. He'd always been able to read his brother and right now, he knew they were all royally boned, no matter what.

Dean took a moment to answer. Clamping down on the emotions that wanted to choke him in that moment. The anger, the despair that not only was he hurting the people he loved, but that there was no way he could get any of them out of this. He was left no choice, but to condemn Bobby to a life no hunter wanted.

"No." I'm sorry, Bobby. I'm so sorry.

"No? Guess we need to start playing a little hardball then." Zachariah smiled, shifting his gaze to Sam and Sabbath. "How about we reset the status quo on your flea infested mutt there and show Sam just how he left him back in that motel room? How he broke your heart, Dean?"

Without warning, without even time to make a sound, Sabbath simply collapsed to the floor in a boneless, lifeless heap. Sam's eyes widened in shock as he realised that the dog was cold…stone cold dead. His hand ran over the fur, trying to find a sign of life, a muscle twitch…anything. Sabbath couldn't be dead! Why did it have anything to do with him?

Sam looked up at Dean, the breath catching in his throat as he saw the sheer pain in his eyes. This wasn't something new to Dean. This wasn't fresh horror…this was remembered pain. Dean had lost Sabbath before. And then it flooded back to Sam. The fight, having Sabbath knocking him down and trying to savage him for choking Dean, for trying to kill Dean. He had pushed the dog off him, had vaguely heard the heavy impact of Sabbath hitting the wall. Oh god…had he killed him? Why hadn't Dean said anything? How had Sabbath been brought back? None of this made any sense to Sam…and the broken, hollowness of Dean's eyes as he stared at the lifeless corpse of the one thing that had always loved him without question, shattered Sam inside.

Sabbath was gone. With nothing more than a blink of an eye. No fight, no chance for him to defend himself. He was just gone. Dead. And this time Castiel wasn't there to bring him back for Dean. Dean knew then, that he wasn't walking away from here. None of them were. He was probably going back to Hell and Sam would be on the rack beside him. This was his reward for signing up for this fucked up war.

"Say yes…and I'll bring him back. Better than ever."

Dean couldn't given in to that offer. The die were already cast. Wrapping the heartache of loss around him, Dean let it fuel his anger, his dogged determination that if he was going out? He was going out defiant to the end. "What? Are you hard of hearing, you jackass? I said no."

"Then how 'bout we heal you from…" Zachariah wanted something good, something nice and agonisingly painful. Something that would show Dean how fragile it was to be human. "…Stage four stomach cancer."

The pain when it hit, was like nothing Dean had ever known. All consuming, weighing him down, slicing, tearing, ravaging him inside as blood surged up his throat. He coughed and choked, coating his hand with scarlet as he fell to one knee. His entire body felt weakened as the cancer ate him away inside, trapping him in a prison of pain that he'd never escape until that last, shuddering breath. "No…"

Alright, this was getting boring. It was time to up the ante and see just how tough Dean really thought he was. Zachariah had all night…but Sam? "Well then let's really get creative. Uh, let's see how Sam does without his lungs."

Without his what?! Dean twisted jerkily, his cancer riddled body refusing to co-operate fully with him as he looked over towards Sam. His brother suddenly clutched at his throat, gasping for air that wasn't going to do him any good now.

Spots were already filling Sam's vision as he tried to inhale, tried to breathe, his brain still begging the body to do what it was no longer capable off. His heart was racing and stuttering in turn, trying to keep Sam alive as he suffocated, his hands clutching and flailing as he dropped to his back beside Sabbath's body.

"Are we having fun yet?" Zachariah asked the room before he stepped forward and grasped Dean by the chin, forcing him to look at him as he spoke softly. "You're going to say yes, Dean."

Dean could hear Sam's panicked, fruitless gasps becoming weaker behind him as he coughed himself, choking on more foul, dark blood from deep within him. "Just kill us…"

"Kill you?" Zachariah stood up again. Did he think it was that simple? That easy to get off the hook? "I'm just getting started."

A brilliant flash of light filled the room, surprising Zachariah as he turned to see the source of it behind him. Dean was forced to turn his head to shield his eyes from the raw power in the room as one of the angel muscle was dispatched by a blade through the throat.

By Castiel.

As Dean took in the sight of the apparently resurrected angel moving with precision, determination and out right fury, against his fellow angels; Sam kicked and struggled to take in his last desperate breathes until his vision greyed around the edges and he stopped moving, everything fading to black.

The other angelic stooge was quickly dispatched; his death sending out another bright explosion of light that forced Dean to look away again. And then the light faded and Dean could see properly at last. It really was Castiel. The son of a bitch was back somehow and Dean was damn happy to see him. It was like the mother of all Cavalry charges to the rescue.

"How are you--" Zachariah hedged cautiously.

"Alive?" Castiel finished for him. "It's a good question. Why were those boys sent the exact same dream of escaping Lucifer? Another good question. Because the angels didn't do it. I think we both know the answer, don't we?"

"No…" Zachariah didn't like that answer. "That's not possible."

"It scares you…well, it should." Castiel's voice was deep, strong. He wasn't taking orders from Zachariah anymore. They came from another command. "Now put these boys back together, undo what you've done here and go. I won't ask twice."

Zachariah was beaten today…and he was more than willing to work with the saying of he who fights and runs away? Lives to fight another day. He would get his chance again. Castiel had only won this round. With the sound of wings launching powerfully, Zachariah was gone a moment later.

Sam awoke immediately, jerking as life returned to his body, his lungs restored and working perfectly again as he sat up. Dean was able to unfold himself from his pained, hunched over position at last, getting to his feet along with Sam as Sabbath rolled to his own feet nearby and shook himself.

"You two need to be more careful." Castiel warned them.

"Yeah, I'm starting to get that." Dean admitted, a little out of breath still even though the pain was gone. Blood still coated his bottom lip, the taste churning his stomach with it's familiarity. "Your Frat brothers are bigger dicks than I thought." He cast a quick glance at Sam, standing just to his right, making sure that he was alright as always. Listening to him suffocate in a room full of air was a new one…and Dean wasn't willing to have it happen again any time soon. Or at all.

" I don't mean the angels. Lucifer is circling his vessel. And once he takes it, those hex bags won't be enough to protect you." Castiel walked up to the boys and placed his hands on their chests.

Seconds later, both Dean and Sam buckled slightly, clutching at their chests as sharp, gouging pain tore through their ribs, stealing their breath away with a grunt of pain. "What the hell was that?"

"An Enokian symbol. It'll hide you from every angel in creation. Including Lucifer." Castiel stepped away again, noting that Sabbath had joined the boys now and was watching him intently, quivering with excitement that was only being contained because of the tension in the air right now.

It was back. That feeling again. Peace. Safety. Trust. Everything that Castiel had always felt to Sabbath. Everything that Uriel and Zachariah had not. His tail wagged slowly as he took in the fact that Castiel was really there. He wasn't dead like Chuck had told him. He was alive again and Sabbath knew without doubt, that he had saved them all. Saved Dean.

"What'd you just brand us with it?" Dean was still finding it a little hard to take a breath without his ribs glowing with fire where Castiel had laid his hand on him.

"No. I carved it into your ribs."

And just like that, there was a shift in the air. The tension eased between the boys and Castiel. Sabbath half bounded forward then, his whole body seeming to wag itself like he was an overgrown puppy until he was sitting before Castiel, his tail thumping frantically against the floor to show that he had missed his friend. He was rewarded by Castiel reaching out and running a hand along his muzzle and over his head, scratching gently behind one ear. "Hello, Sabbath." He gave the hint of a smile as the dog's tail wagged even harder, Sabbath's whole body quivering again as he let out a sharp, high pitched yelp that gave voice to his happiness.

"Hey, Cas…were you really dead?" Sam asked him.

"Yes." Castiel answered honestly, knowing that he was facing questions now that he couldn't answer yet. Not until he had proof to back up what he had to say.

"Then how are you back?" Dean asked. He'd been brought back from the dead, from Hell itself, by Castiel. So what had brought him back? Reforming even the vessel he had taken in Jimmy?

Castiel merely met their gaze for a moment longer, running his hand over Sabbath's head one last time before he vanished, the air filled with the sound of wings lifting off. The boys were left alone with Sabbath…and a room that now had two more bodies in it.

"Let's go, Sam. We're done here. We should check on Bobby." Dean turned, already snapping his fingers to call Sabbath to his side. He felt the dog brush against his leg a mere moment later to announce his presence. Dean slid his fingers over the top of Sabbath's head, reassured that he had him back.

Sam fell into step with a moment later and Dean felt like he could finally breathe again. Now they just needed to find some way to help Bobby…

xxxxXXXXXxxxx

The first indication Sabbath had that something was wrong…was the fact that Dean climbed into the car alone. Sitting up in the passenger seat, Sabbath could see Sam still standing out in the car park of the hospital. The mixed emotions that were rolling off Dean as he stared ahead of him, his jaw muscles ticking, had Sabbath worried. He whined softly, unsure of what could have happened after they went to see Bobby at the hospital.

Another couple of heartbeats passed before Dean suddenly unleashed a punch to his door that had Sabbath pulling back with a soft yelp of surprise.

Rubbing the bruised knuckles, Dean let out a tired sigh, his shoulders slowly sagging and giving him an almost defeated look. " I don't know if I can do this anymore, buddy.."

Sabbath cocked his head, his large brown eyes watching Dean intently.

"I mean, Sam's my brother. I love the kid, y'know? That's not even an issue. I'd give my life for him again in a heartbeat…but I'm just so tired. I'm tired of watching my back and his twenty four seven. I'm tired of wondering if he'll turn on me again. If there's going to be a next time?" Dean glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Sam still standing out behind the Impala, his hands thrust into the pockets of his jacket as he got himself together again.

"He let us both down, Sabbath. He chose Ruby over us. Over me. A fucking demon. And I can see he gets now that. I can. I see it in his eyes and I know it hurts him to admit that too. But that doesn't make it any easier. I…I just don't know anymore. I don't know who I can trust anymore." Dean admitted, feeling his chest tighten at the very thought of how alone he was now. Bobby was in the hospital. He might not ever walk again…and yet he had told Sam he wasn't quitting on him. Dean had watched the way Sam had clung to that, the light that had crept into his brother's eyes when it became clear that he hadn't lost Bobby…and Dean wanted to give Sam that too. He really did.

Dean had never refused Sam anything. All his life, he had buckled to anything Sam wanted because he loved his little brother…and now to save him? To bring Sam back from the abyss? Dean had to hurt him. He couldn't just give in to him and put it all behind them. Not yet. Not so easily.

Sam needed to learn the consequences of what he had done. He needed to see what it had done to Dean. What it cost to betray the people closest to you. Dean needed to do this for Sam. No matter what it hurt him to do so.

Sabbath inched across the seat and picked up one paw, reaching out to put on Dean's arm, pulling him out of his thoughts. With a soft, drawn out rumbling whine, he tried to voice himself to Dean, wanting to console his Master at the moment. The pain was so raw and open in him, screaming from every pore. Sabbath just wished he could make it go away there and then.

Dean ruffled the top of Sabbath's head, then scratched his chest a moment later, a tight smile twitching the corner of his mouth. "Yeah, I know, boy. You've got my back, right?"

Sabbath barked then, his tail thumping against the leather seat.

Sam opened the passenger door at last and without being asked, Sabbath climbed over into the back and laid down. There was still a tension between the brothers as Sam climbed into the Impala.

"Dean…"

"Not now, Sam. I'm done talking…"

"Well I'm not, so just hear me out, okay? You wouldn't talk about it out there but I need to."

"Sam…" Dean shot his brother a warning glare. This wasn't the time. He wasn't sure there was ever going to be a time when he would discuss it.

"Were you ever going to tell me about what I did to Sabbath?"

Sabbath raised his head at the mention of his name.

"Dammit, Sam."

"Well, were you? I know what he means to you, Dean. Why wouldn't you tell me?"

"Sam, drop it…please…"

Sam felt his throat closing up at the pain in Dean's voice. It wasn't often that his brother would plea with him like that and Sam almost let the matter slide. "Why wouldn't you tell me? You want me to be honest with you now, but you weren't going to tell me about that?"

"What did you want me to say, Sam?" Dean twisted in his seat to confront Sam, his eyes bright green pools of hurt. It felt like Sam had been picking at a scab and now the wound was bleeding again. "That you hurt me? Is that it? You want me to hold your fucking hand and open up to you like you're Doctor Phil or something?"

"Dean…" Sam knew he was playing with fire, but what did Dean want him to do? He needed to know where he stood on everything.

"You were gone…and so was Sabbath. It's that simple. You walked out of that room to follow your demon skank…and when I came to, I found him. Just lying there where you'd thrown him. Where he'd hit the wall. You broke his neck, Sam. He tried to save me…and you broke his fucking neck and just walked out!" It was brutal and harsh, the helpless anger and anguish Dean felt over it all apparent in every word. Sam had kept pushing and in return, Dean had lashed out, needing to share that pain before he locked it away again.

"Is that what you needed to hear? Are we clear now? Cause I'm done talking about it. It was fixed…Sabbath's fine, everything's just peachy again…so just drop it." Dean turned the key in the ignition sharply, letting the roar of the engine end the conversation. He slammed the Impala into gear and pulled out of the parking lot with a screech of rubber. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Dean quietly apologised to his baby for taking it out on her, but it seemed lately all he did was hurt who he loved anyway.

Sam felt the air had been sucked from his lungs. He slumped against the door beside him, staring out the window as he struggled to push down the guilt choking him. He didn't need Dean to say anything else. He had lost everything in that room.

How was Sam supposed to get back the brother he had lost?

xxxxxXXXXxxxxxxx

The motel room was still with Dean's soft snoring and the soft volume of the TV, the only sounds filtering through. An empty bottle of whiskey lay on it's side beside Dean's bed, just out of reach of one hand as he slept sprawled on his back. There had been no argument from Sam this time about Dean's decision to drink. Not after everything that had happened.

Dean had been terrified of dreaming of Bobby dying in a pool of his own blood…of Sam dying, gasping for air…of seeing Sabbath lying so broken again. Dean didn't want to remember any of it, so he had crawled into a bottle until he was too drunk to remember his name and let sleep claim him.

Sam was asleep in the neighbouring bed, tv remote still clutched in one hand. The home shopping channel had finally coaxed him to sleep an hour or so after Dean's snoring had begun.

Curled into Dean's side, Sabbath dozed, flickering one eye open every so often if a car pulled into the motel parking lot or a set of headlights flashed past the windows. He was relaxed, but still on guard as always. Making sure that nothing would harm his Master now that he was resting and making sure that his presence would keep the nightmares at bay.

A soft snick of metal scraping metal had Sabbath alert, lifting his head and watching the door closely as the handle turned on it's own, the door swinging open gently.

Sabbath…

Hopping off the bed, Sabbath padded forward to the door and carefully sniffed the night air, picking up on the familiar scent of Castiel. With a quick glance towards both Dean and Sam to ensure they were alright, Sabbath slipped out the door and followed the scent along the row of motel rooms to the small grassed playground near by. Castiel was sitting on the lone wooden bench, his hands resting on his knees as he waited.

Negotiating his way through the swings, Sabbath's tail was wagging broadly as he saw the angel waiting for him. A series of rolling, grumbling groans and whines came from Sabbath as he approached Castiel.

"I understand your concerns for them both." Castiel nodded. "That is why I have come. I wanted to ensure that you were alright." Castiel informed Sabbath, reaching out to scratch behind his ear as the dog sat down in front of him.

Bringing Sabbath to life again had gotten Castiel reprimanded by Zachariah. It had been one of the many so called "mistakes" he had apparently made. Letting human emotion get the better of him. Putting Dean's needs ahead of the big picture as Zachariah had put it. But Castiel knew it all now. He was well aware of the big picture and if they had any chance of getting through this at all, then Dean needed to be protected. Castiel would never regret giving the dog back to Dean. The loyalty he showed the hunter was what Dean needed right now… along with unconditional love.

Castiel looked around them, making sure they were alone before he continued. It had felt strange once, to talk so openly with Sabbath, but Castiel knew that if he wanted an honest answer? This was the only way. "Tell me everything…"

xxxxXXXXXxxxx

Goosebumps prickled along Sam's arms as he rolled over, trying to crawl under the blankets in search of the warmth that was eluding him at that moment. Slowly his eyes forced themselves open and he looked around the room, hearing Dean's soft snoring still. At least that was one thing Sam had always been grateful for. Dean wasn't a snorer unless he was drunk…and even then, it was a soft kind of buzzing that would help Sam sleep, rather than disturb him.

A cold breeze skipped over Sam, waking him properly as Dean grumbled and shifted on the other bed.

"S'mmy…shhut th'door, dude…"

The door. The door was open…and Sabbath was gone. Sam sat up in a panic then, scouring the room to double check what his eyes were already telling him.

There was no sign of the German Shepard anywhere.

"Sabbath?" Sam called in a harsh whisper as he slid his bare feet into his boots. All he was wearing was a thin grey t-shirt and some sweat pants. Where the hell would Sabbath have gone? How had the door opened? Sam's heart was crawling up his throat at the thought that something could have happened to the dog. Not after the storeroom…not after the pain he had seen in Dean's eyes.

"Sabbath!!" Sam called again softly, glancing over at Dean as he tried not to wake him. In his current state, Dean was better off staying asleep and oblivious.

Pausing long enough to grab his jacket from the end of his bed, Sam crept out of the room, pulling the door closed behind him. It was a still night and sound travelled easily, immediately alerting Sam to the park at the end of the motel rooms. He moved cautiously, not sure what he would find, if Sabbath was in danger or not…but what he found wasn't what he expected.

Sabbath was lying on the ground near Castiel, watching the angel intently as he spoke, before he would respond himself with growling, groaning whines that Sam could have sworn meant the dog was trying to talk. He'd always known the German Shepard was vocal. Sabbath had a habit of answering Dean when he was asked a question and it had always amused Dean immensely. Even as a pup, Sabbath had been just one of those talkative dogs. Growls, groans, sighs, barks and sneezes forming some weird sort of language that Dean had grown accustomed to understanding.

But this? This was more than that. Castiel wasn't humouring the dog and making wise cracks about what he thought the dog wanted.

"Yes, I will ask Dean to arrange for you to see him." Castiel nodded in reply to Sabbath's latest snuffling groan. "He's your friend…of course you are worried."

"Wait…you understand him?" Sam stepped out into the open then.

Sabbath turned and huffed a soft half bark in greeting before he got to his feet and trotted over to Sam, winding himself around his legs and almost knocking Sam off balance.

Castiel rose to his feet, a little unsure of himself now that he wasn't alone with Sabbath anymore. Sam's presence meant more questions. Questions that could complicate things further. It took Castiel a moment to look at Sam, his gaze diverted initially as he felt the burn of embarrassment in his cheeks at having been caught speaking to a dog.

"Cas…you can understand Sabbath?" Sam pushed again.

"He is one of God's creations. The same as all angels. I'm able to speak with all of my Father's creations." Castiel answered simply, his blue eyes shifting to meet Sam's gaze as he spoke again. "He is worried about you. About Dean. He fears losing his pack and being unable to protect you both."

"He told you that?"

"Yes." Castiel glanced down at Sabbath. "I am his friend, he felt he could trust me with his concerns."

Sabbath gave a small rumbling growl that dissolved into a bark, his head cocking to the side at he looked imploringly at Castiel.

"I'll tell him…" Castiel nodded before he explained to Sam, "Sabbath would also like to see Robert Singer."

Sam fought the urge to laugh then, arching an eyebrow. "You're not kidding about this, are you? You really can understand him?"

"I am not…kidding…as you say. The entire universe is open to an angel if he listens. But Sabbath's voice is not hard to understand, Sam. You do not need words to communicate."

Okay, Sam had to admit that Castiel had him there. Dad had taught both boys to communicate without having to say a word and Dean had always been a master of being more articulate with a look, than words. You didn't need words…you needed to learn how to listen, how to read someone.

"Does he know what happened? What…what I did to him?" Sam asked, reaching down to stroke his fingers through Sabbath's coat as the dog looked up at him.

"He has no memory of death…only of the fight that preceded it."

Sam nodded, crouching down to pull Sabbath to him, fighting to swallow around the lump that had formed in his throat. " I guess that makes two of us then, huh?" Even now, Sam still remembered Cold Creek. The white hot stab of pain, falling to his knees as he heard Dean screaming…and then everything had begun to fade out. All he had known was Dean's voice following him into the darkness before everything had faded out completely.

And yet Dean hadn't been so lucky. He'd gone to Hell for Sam…suffered for 30 years before he had broken and then? Then he had done things that Sam knew Dean would never really speak about. That he would carry within him for the rest of life, letting them eat at him. Guilt that he would never shake…because that was how Dean worked. He would shore up his walls and put on that outer display of being fine, of being in control, while inside he was falling apart, piece by piece.

Dean had experienced Hell first hand…and now Sam had brought Hell to earth, because he had thought he had known better. Because he had thought Dean was too weak to stop Lillith and had wanted to try and protect him. Because he had been caught up in Ruby's lies and deceit, blinded to the truth of what she was doing to him. What he was becoming…

Castiel wasn't blind to the guilt consuming Sam. "There is a proverb…it's always darkest, before the dawn."

Sam stood up again, keeping one hand on Sabbath still as he looked at Castiel. It was a little strange for him to be dealing with Castiel alone after everything that had happened. Sam had expected the angel to blame him for everything that had happened. That he would distance himself from him for what he had done…but instead, Sam got the impression that Castiel wasn't condemning him. "You're quoting proverbs now? Did Dean introduce you to fortune cookies?"

"Dean bakes cookies? Does he make them with the triple choc chips like Chuck has for me before?" Castiel asked earnestly, his head tilting to the side ever so slightly as he looked at Sam expectantly for an answer.

"Choc…chip…wha?" Sam answered slowly, thrown by what Castiel had said. Maybe he'd been hanging Dean and Chuck more than Sam had realised? He was picking on some very human traits. Shaking himself mentally, Sam blinked and gave a soft half laugh before he asked, "Look, is this headed somewhere?"

"You dreamt of escaping Lucifer. Of being trapped…and then being on board a plane in the next minute."

That stopped Sam cold, his eyes widening in surprise as Sabbath shifted impatiently beside him, lying down. "You knew about that?"

"It was a message for you and Dean. One you both need at this time."

"A message? What sort of message?" Sam's mouth was dry now, his heart beating faster.

"That you are not alone in this fight." Castiel disappeared a moment later, the air full of the sound of wings.

Sabbath looked up towards the sky, a sad whine echoing in his throat. He wished Castiel could stay around longer and he was worried for the angel. Things were shifting for Castiel too.

Sam was still reflecting on what Castiel had said. They weren't alone? What did that mean? Who was sending them that message?

Sabbath whined again, then got to his feet and began to trot back towards the motel room. Castiel was gone, it was getting cold outside and he was worried about Dean. He paused and barked at Sam to get his attention.

"Alright, alright! Shut up before you wake everyone up!" Sam hissed at him, heading back to the room.

Sabbath clawed at the door as Sam unlocked it, nudging it open impatiently and padding softly into the room only to find that Dean was still asleep. His brow was pinched and beaded with sweat as Dean shuddered, clearly lost deep in a nightmare. Without a moment's hesitation, Sabbath crawled up onto the bed and snaked his away up until he was level with Dean's chest. He inched closer and closer, settling alongside Dean and stretching out as he felt his Master curl an arm around him. Dean's hand sank into the deep, warm fur and his whole body began to relax again.

Sam was watching as he sat down on his own bed and kicked off his boots. He witnessed Dean's breathing slowly even out again from the panicked, rapid gasps it had been before. If Sabbath hadn't been so successful, Sam would have woken Dean up instead. But as it was, he merely got up and pulled a blanket over Dean to help keep him warm.

Sabbath peered up at Sam for a moment with one eye before he closed it again and let out a huffed breath as he relaxed.

"Good boy…" Sam ran a hand over Sabbath's head, then went back to his own bed and slipped under the covers. He got comfortable, watching Dean sleep as he felt tiredness tugging at his eyelids. You are not alone in this fight…

Whatever that meant, it gave Sam hope. Hope that he could fix what he had done. Hope that he could save what he had with Dean.

Everything wasn't lost, even if the road ahead of them was going to be rough.

There would be the light of dawn after the darkness, after all.