Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural

Synopsis: Gabriel reminds Dean of what he still has. What he's always had that makes Famine wrong. He just does it in that horrible way that he thinks is helping.

Authors Notes: Post 5x14. A bit of a look at how Dean feels about everything he's given up for his brother and needing to remember it was what they gave up for each other that matters.

Sacrifice in Many Forms

Dean groaned outwardly. Couldn't he even have a few moments of self-pity to himself without some emissary of heaven or hell nosing in?

And really he wasn't sure which Gabriel hailed from.

And he didn't care. Outside he may be groaning like a perturbed child, but inside he was calculating exactly how fast he could run inside and grab Sam and call Cas and get the fuck away from this archangel and-

"Indulging in some personal woe, are we?"

"Go away."

"Oh, come on. I didn't trap you in a ring of holy oil. Why so unhappy to see me?"

Okay, Dean was feeling petulant too. He ticked the reasons off on his fingers.

"Well, there's the killing me, driving Sam insane, killing me, trapping us in bad daytime programming, killing me, trying to get us to be your brother's prom dresses, and, um, killing me."

The archangel was unfazed.

"You gonna hold that against me forever?"

"No. No…just until we both die and/or cease to exist in any form that's capable of rage."

"Yea, well, I don't have that kinda time. I'm here to help you."

Dean wondered if he felt like being smote…smited….smote. Yea, that, because he was laughing, really laughing. Like, just this side of psycho laughing. And Gabriel, well, he was good enough to wait until he was done.

"Help me? You killed me!"

"Yea, I think we've established that, but that had nothing to do with you. I was trying to help Sam."

"Awesome job."

"Hilarious. I'm serious." The trickster actually had the decency to look contrite, but tried his best to hide it, because tricksters, nor angels, were capable of that. "I…may have gone a little far with Sam that time. And I may not have meant to. But you did try to kill me with a whiddled stick!"

Dean shrugged.

"Didn't work."

"Apology accepted." He cut in ignoring Dean's indignant bellow that it was not in any way an apology. "Look, I've been thinking out some things and then I happened upon you and your little pity-party and it clicked how I could help."

"Not interested."

"You think you're hollow." Gabriel plowed right on. "And you think you've given up everything. And you think you've given it all up for Sam and none of it mattered at all."

"Shut up. Just clip on your little wings and-"

"You're wondering what it was all for. When in the end Sammy went and turned from that sweet little baby and adoring kid brother into-"

"Gabriel." Growled

"Lucifer." He flaunted like he'd made a point. "But most of all. You think that you gave everything you ever had, and Sam gave up nothing."

Dean clenched his teeth. Maybe he did think that sometimes, but what business was it of anyone's but his? And he didn't think Sam gave up nothing, just-

"Not as much." He went on like he was reading Dean's mind. Maybe he was, Dean didn't know. "Sam never gave up nearly as much for you as you did for him. And you feel like the only thing you held on to is gone."

Dean swallowed. What could he say? Sam…was Sam gone? Sammy was gone….

"When did little Sammy start changing? Hating the life you had?"

"There was no 'starting'." Fine, Dean would play, he didn't care. "He hit thirteen like he'd just been waiting for it and went all emo kid." Dean knew he was shorting Sam here, but the tricks-, Gabr-, this douche was really pissing him off.

"No reason?"

"Thirteen" Dean emphasized like he was talking to an idiot child.

Gabriel shook his head like he was disappointed in him.

"You really have no idea, do you?"

They'd all sacrificed for each other. Himself, Sam, dad…Dean knew, bone-deep knew, that Sam had given up a lot for him over the years, but he had gone to hell for Sam.

He'd never take it back. Never. Not for anything. But at that moment, with the apocalypse looming over him, horsemen telling him he had no soul, and a freshly detoxed, strung-out little brother back in the house, yea, maybe he did feel a little entitled to his grief and his anger.

"Yea, maybe Sam did give up some things for me sometimes. The remote, half a blanket in a flea-ridden motel, the occasional last bowl of Lucky Charms." He grinned humorlessly at the archangel. "What's your point?"

There was no disappointment now.

Gabriel appeared every bit the force he was, and said force was well and truly pissed.

But his voice was level when he spoke.

"You, my friend, have just gotten yourself the honor of my first time skipping exercise in a thousand years."

"No. No, no, n-"

Too late.

Dean was looking at the front of a school he and Sam had attended once. One of a hundred more just like it.

"Don't worry, Deano." He was all trickster again. Goody. "This isn't like before. You and I? We're spectators here. Nothing more."

"When did you go all Ghost of Christmas Past?" Maybe Dean felt like playing with his life a little.

"Told ya, all I want is to help you right now. Help you pull yourself out of this little tail spin and get back to your job."

"Playing our parts you mean?" Dean wasn't gonna say yes and no way in hell was he letting anything get to Sammy.

"Maybe yes, maybe no."

That threw him a bit.


Gabriel heaved a put-upon sigh.

"Look, all you have to do is listen and watch." He crossed his arms. "Now, when did you say Sammy got all bitchy?"

Dean clenched his teeth and just went with it.

"Thirteen. Okay, if you think I buy any of this, you're insane. You can make people, places, realities, out of thin air. Everything about you is a lie."

Gabriel's face changed and maybe, that was the wrong thing to say.

"I don't lie." The angel firmly assured him. "I cheat and steal and trick and deceive and kill, poetically- but I don't lie. Not about this."

There was something in the tone of that last statement that made Dean believe him.

"Fine. You're a dick, but you don't lie."

"Good boy. As a reward, I'll make this quick." Back to the trickster persona again. "Thirteen. This was the school you went to for half the year. A month of that, daddy dearest was, once again, gone and you were left fending for little brother. Same objective as every other time- take care of Sam and don't let the grown-ups know no one's home. Because how many times had you eluded child services by the skin of your teeth at that point?"

Dean waited for the point irritably, but something tightened in his gut.

"No one found out and you went on with life. Chased girls, took care of Sam, and packed up when John got back." He got right up in Dean's face, but there was no malice left. He looked…almost burdened. "What do you think is the hitch in that little story Dean?"

Tiny, tiny, little things started nagging at a corner of Dean's mind. He couldn't stop the shaking- god, why was he shaking?- when the trickster rounded on him.

"Someone found out."

Ice water washed down Dean's spine. The rest was all flashes to him. The teacher that hung around Sam a bit too much, that never looked at Dean in the right way. The one that was too accommodating to Sam, too curious about their home life. Then, Sam coming home from school on Monday and staying home until dad came and they left and Dean didn't think about it again, didn't let himself think- Not Sammy. Not when he had been right there.

Not Sammy.

The call to the office. The overt niceties and too tactile man and don't touch him! Don't you fuckin' touch him!

"You never pay me any attention Sam. Even when I'm so nice to you."

No. no, no no no nonono….

"I know your father's not home. No adult. I should call child services-"

Sam's not stupid. He wouldn't. They could get out. Can't get to him like that. Not-

"Your brother could get in a lot of trouble."

Fuck, no.

"Or maybe I could talk to him? What would your brother do to protect you, Sam?"

That- he would- Sammy, no. Don't…no!

"What do you want?"

"You're so pretty Sam."

"You leave my brother alone. No child services and you never go anywhere near him."

"I promise."

No. 'God, Sam, no.'

Dean was back to the junkyard, dropped to his hands and knees and shaking. Gabriel stood next to him.

"You sold your soul for your brother, but he sold his for you too, just in a different way. How does it feel knowing that? Knowing baby brother spread his legs to keep you safe while you kept him in Lucky Charms? And then shut up about it and never said a word so he would never hurt you, so you'd never know…and he never did use it against you, did he Dean? Not even this year, not even once. Maybe he even made himself forget about it." Dean couldn't even work up the will to punch him, but he wanted to.

He wanted to beat him to death.

He breathed shakily through clenched teeth, tears blurring his vision and trying not to be sick.

"You sonuva-"

"I'm sorry. You needed to know, but…I am sorry. For all of it."

He was sincere. Dean believed him, but he couldn't stand to even attempt to look at him.

"You need each other. You take care of each other." Gabriel was adamant, trying to drive home his point. "It's never been about you protecting Sam or failing to protect him or vice versa. It's always been about the two of you giving up everything for each other…and never regretting any of it."

Dean sobbed. He didn't look to see if Gabriel had flitted off or not. And he could work out the angel's motivations and which side he was really on later, now he just stood and stumbled his way toward Bobby's porch.

He needed to hit something, break something. Hunt something down and make it pay for a decade long sin. He needed to collapse. He needed to cry. He needed-

Sam. He needed to see Sam. See him alive and haggered and damaged, as they both were, and breathing.

Cas was away, Bobby was asleep, and Dean barely, just barely made it down that impossibly long hallway to where Sam was before he collapsed all about his previously sleeping brother.

"Dean! What are-"

Dean was sobbing and pulling at Sam who was still tense in alarm under him probably wondering what shapeshifting freak had his brother now.

"Sammy….Sam. Sammy, I'm sorry. I'm just…so sorry little brother."

Sounds that may have been, 'I didn't know', 'I'm so sorry I didn't know' or maybe just wordless cries tumbled out of him and he felt Sam relax as he realized it was his real brother, then attempt an awkward embrace as he tried to figure out what the hell was wrong with his real brother.

"Dean it's- What happened? Are you hurt? What-Dean?"

Confused, Sam just let Dean hold onto him like the world was falling down around him and found that he clung to his brother just as tight. He didn't even know why, but he knew they needed it. Sam felt himself tearing up as Dean held him so hard the green-eyed man was shaking against him even though he didn't know what was wrong.

"It's okay." Sam tried to placate. Anything to stop this desperation from his brother. "Dean…"

Dean just gripped tighter and sobbed. For all they'd been through, all they'd done, all they'd lost…

"It's okay. Dean. It's alright, I pr-God, Dean, what's wrong? I'll fix it. It's okay, it's okay…"

for all they still had.