Bobby nudged him until he made it to the kitchen, and every single time Sam screamed out his name, Dean's shoulders tightened just a little more.

"Sit down."

"I need air." He said fast and soft.

"Sit down."

"I can't do it. I need out."

"SIT DOWN!" Bobby demanded.

"Am I being punished?" he asked in a childlike voice.

"No. I'm trying to clean up those hands. You are bleeding pretty good."

"Good. I deserve it."

"Dean." Bobby sighed and then Sam let out another ripper of a scream. Dean was on his feet, the only thing stopping him from bolting was Bobby's hand around his arm. "I said sit down young man."

"I can't listen to him scream." His face pinched, eyes closed, lips pouted out. "I can't do it Bobby." He said and sobs began to wrack through his frame.

Dean! Den! Help! They're coming for me! Dean, pleeeease! I'll be good! Please! Dean! Help! Dean put his blood soaked hands over his hears, drips running down his arms and hesitating just slightly before the drip plopped off of his elbow onto his jeans. "Make it stop Bobby. Make him better!" He cried. "I can't do it! It's all my fault! Make him better!"

"We are making him better Dean. He'll be okay. Castiel is watching over him. But I need to worry about you first."

"No! Sam…" He swallowed. "Sam is the one that you need to worry about. Lucifer is after him. We have to protect him, we have to save him Bobby, we can't let Lucifer get him."

"And we can't let Michael get you." Dean waved it off, and Bobby grabbed that hand, pulled his magnifier down over his eye and looked at the wounds on the young man's hands, and then began to pull the little slivers of glass out of his palm and fingers.

"Doesn't really matter if Michael gets me. Doesn't matter. Just matters if Lucifer gets Sam. I can't let him destroy my little brother…"

"What? You mean it's okay for all of the demons and angels to destroy you, but it isn't okay for all the demons and angels to destroy your brother."

Dean said nothing, just cringed as he heard Sam's continued pleas and pain. "That's pretty much what you are telling the world Dean Winchester. You are telling everyone that you are less important and that is just as dangerous for Sam as it is you." Bobby pulled out a larger piece of glass and Dean turned and looked, the first time he had shown that his hands might actually hurt him. Bobby saw how swollen and red his eyes were, and the constant tears running down his face made him look like that four year old boy who had come to him all of those years ago.

"Dean. If you are going to protect your brother…."

"I'm doing the best I can!" He defended quickly.

"You aren't doing the best you can." Dean looked down at his lap and tears cascaded faster down his face. "You are letting the bad guys see your weaknesses…"

"How the hell can't I? They can see inside my head! My soul! They know how black my soul is. How do I not let them see that?!"

"You prove them wrong youngin'. You prove that even though you've been to hell, even though your brother has been a demon blood junkie, that you are still the strongest force between them and your brother. You know what hell is like, and you don't' want the world to become that, and you most certainly don't want your brother's soul to end up there. You need to be stronger…"

"I'm not strong, I'm so weak. I…"

"Yes, you tortured souls, yes you broke the first seal, yes it's been hard, yes your brother has betrayed you in ways I'll never understand…"

"And if you tell me to just get over it so help me God…" Dean threatened, some of his old spunk returning.

"I'm not telling you to get over it, I'm telling you that you need to forgive yourself and Sam. Both of you acted out of grief and pain, and that kind of stuff will do some wild things to a man. You both have suffered quite enough. It's time for the two of you to get your shit together and start ending this damn thing. I don't want either of you to say yes. That is a given. What I want is you two to become that strong unified front you used to be. That is more powerful than any weapon, then any plan. The Winchester brothers together and fighting is what they all feared, and why they tried to break you two apart, that is why they did what they did to Sam, what they did to you." Bobby sighed and went back to pulling glass out of Dean's hand.

"They've manipulated us." Dean said roughly while Bobby was cleaning the hand with peroxide, and applying antibacterial cream. Bobby nodded. "And we fell for all of it."

"Yup." He said and took Dean's other hand and began the same process. "This one is gonna need stitches."

The anger that used to rage at injustice slowly began to burn in his belly again. Those sons of bitches had manipulated the hell out of both of them. Evil, good, angels, devils, you don't get away with that.

Two days later, Sam was in his right mind again, and Dean brought water and soup in the panic room for him to eat. This was the first time Sam was coherent enough to recognize his brother.

"Dean?" He asked breathlessly. Dean sat down next to him on the cot and encouraged him to sit up.

"Hey Sammy, easy easy, don't want to get up too early. Don't want to up chuck whatever we've managed to keep in your stomach for the last couple of days."

"Sammy…" He asked.

"That's your name." he said and handed his brother a cup of water. Sam grabbed his brother's forearm, knocking the water out of his hand. "Oh, come on Sammy, you've got to drink something, and you can't have the hard stuff until you are better."

Sam grabbed his brother's bandaged hand and looked up at Dean. "What happened?"

Dean pulled his hands back and gave a bashful laugh, licked his lips, and turned away. "I, uh, was a little upset. And I took it out on some cars, and well, glass goes inside skin, and that well, I was upset." He repeated.


"Yeah, in the right hand."

"You gonna be okay?"

"Sam, it's nothing. How are you feeling? You want soup? You have got to be hungry." He took the soup off of the tray and Sam resituated so he was sitting up and Indian style, and took it from his brother's bandaged hands.

"Chicken and stars." Sam laughed. "I remember when you would buy this for me when I was little."

"Sorry it isn't homemade."

Sam swallowed the soup and closed his eyes and savored the taste an the nostalgia. "Homemade is what you make it."

"Look Sam…." Sam's face clouded over.

"You gonna take off?"


"I mean, I've fallen completely off the wagon, and I'm going to be useless to you…"

"We aren't doing that again Sam." Sam cocked his head in confusion. "We aren't splitting up. We're family."

"I know, I know, but…the blood."

"Is a part of you now."

"That's comforting."

"It always has been Sammy." Dean licked his lips. "I don't know how to say it. We've been letting them screw with us too long Sam. We have. I've let the angels manipulate the hell out of me, I've let the demons amplify my issues and tear me down, and you've fallen into traps, thinking you are helping people while you were doing something that was decidedly not good. And I've lost something along the way. I lost being your protector, your big brother."

"Dean, you have to let me grow up."

"There is being your protector and letting you grow up. I kept a tight leash on you because I was scared. I had lost you. LOST you, and I had been alone in hell for thirty years, it was just a knee jerk reaction when I got back, I wanted to keep you close, and the more you pulled the closer I wanted to keep you. It was my fault."

"Dean. I'm a grown man, I should be protecting myself."

"That's just it. We should be protecting each other, and we haven't been. I've been letting people tell me I'm worthless, and I've believed it. But we're family. And they've spent years trying to break us apart so they could get to us. It took heaven and hell years to do that. We must have had something pretty special if both sides wanted to take us down." Sam nodded. "Okay. So, as soon as you get better, less wobbly, and my hands heal up. We get back to what we were good at."

"We forget everything?"

"No. We forgive."