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Dean and Castiel keep vigil over their wounded charge.

Blood, Bone, and Family- part 2

Castiel sat on the side of the bed looking at Sam's face, relaxed in exhaustion, not sleep. His fingers made to close over those of the youngest Winchester, but he hesitated. He didn't know if he was allowed that gesture at this point. But refusing Sam's hand had been one of the triggers leading to their current situation. In the end he settled for sidling his hand up against Sam's, barely daring to touch in fear of inflicting further damage and reluctant to pull away for the same reasons.

Dean stepped back into the main room with fresh wrappings for Sam's wounds. His eyes were dry and face weary as he scanned Castiel's position to his brother. He was back in protector mode, scanning even the angel for potential threat. And Castiel supposed he was on some level. He was not blameless in this.

Dean sat on the opposite side of the bed and set about wrapping Sam's right arm from wrist to elbow. Castiel took the remaining bandages cautiously, being scanned by Dean the whole time. He moved slowly so as to not seem any kind of danger and began wrapping Sam's other arm in similar fashion, covering the stitches.

They worked in silence and after checking Sam's pupils, 'cleaned the pills out of his system', because his little brother was nothing if not thorough, Dean sat back slowly. He had worked almost mechanically since finding Sam and cleaning him up, now he seemed lost. Castiel was faring no better. They looked helplessly at each other for a moment and were then left in their own musings. Minutes of silence passed before Dean spoke, his voice tired and worn.

"I've spent most of my life protecting Sam from every evil in the world. Every…monster, and shadow, and demon crawling after him in the night." He rubbed a hand over his mouth. "I never….how do I protect him from his own mind?"

He turned to the angel and Castiel could see he was honestly looking for an answer, his eyes glistening. But Castiel had no revelations for him and Dean resumed staring at his own hands, still spotted in his brother's blood.

Castiel felt an uncommon weight in his chest, something that had been growing heavier each day and had culminated when Sam did not answer his phone that night.

Sorrow, grief, helplessness.

He had been enjoying his expanded emotional range. Now he wished for nothing more than it's absence.

Slowly, the angel took Sam's hand in his own and clasped it between both his hands as he had done when they had first met. He glanced over at Dean and saw his fingers fisted into Sam's shirt. Maybe he too was afraid of hurting Sam further by touching his bare skin.

"I have tried not to think of my part in this" he began uncertainly, only just fleshing out the proper words he needed. "But this, all of this, is as much on my shoulders as yours or Sam's, probably more so."

Dean's mouth tightened, he was listening.

"He was broken when you died" He saw Dean's jaw clench "He tore out every part of himself that wasn't essential to getting revenge on Lilith. All his compassion and faith and trust…he did away with it all until only a sliver of hope remained, so deep that he probably wasn't even aware it was there." Castiel's eyes felt hot. "And then I tore that away from him too"

Dean finally looked up at that, eyes settling on the angel, face expressionless.

"Everything was falling apart around him and he reached his hand out to me with light flickering back into his eyes. Sam saw one last visage of salvation," He hung his head and felt shame "and I only looked to his blood. I dispelled the last illusion of peace left to him." Castiel looked at the red still staining his palms and murmured mournfully. "I don't wish to see his blood anymore."

Dean laughed humorlessly, but said nothing, turning instead to gaze at Sam.

"We're supposed to take care of each other. I'm supposed to take care of him. But all we've done is push each other away. All I've done is…this" He gestured to Sam's still form. "The devil's in his head, hunters and angels want him dead, he hates himself-"

Castiel saw Dean freeze and his hand flew to his mouth, his eyes wide in shock of what he had already known subconsciously and only now, finally, voiced and realized.

"He hates himself Cas. He wants to die. My little brother wants to die." Dean reached a trembling hand up to Sam's hair beginning to run his fingers through it. Instead he grazed a rounded scar on Sam's temple with his thumb. He had never noticed it before, Sam's hair covering it. His very bones shook and he felt ill, like he could still see the powder burns that must have been there at one time.

"Aw, god Sammy…"

And then the oldest Winchester was curling down, his forehead pressed to the sheets beside Sam's head. He bit his lip and Castiel could tell by the shaking of his body that he was sobbing, his hand still against the side of his brother's face.

Castiel knew nothing he could say could offer any type of comfort, so he said nothing.

He watched Dean in his anguish and continued to hold Sam's hand, fearing what would happen to Sam, to them all, if he let go.